Translations for our foreign visitors
The Friends of Saratoga Spa State Park
Welcomes you to
The Saratoga Spa State Park
The Friends of Saratoga Spa State Park are continuously involved and working with park managers and employees to achieve continual improvements in the Saratoga Springs spa Park. The Friends again participated at the I Love My Park event this year working and also serving hot dogs and beverages to the other volunteers. Long established Friends' projects include continual improvements to the clay tennis courts, the historic "Vale of Springs" upgrades, restoration of the historic Ferndell Spring as part of the park's renewal of the Ferndell Trail, renewal of old park pavilions and work to preserve the history of the mineral springs and the mineral baths that made Saratoga Springs famous. A mineral springs tour and walking lecture conducted by one of The Friends' directors is among the educational programs offered seasonally at the Park.
Relaxation - Spring Waters - Golf - Tennis - History
Saratoga Spa State Park offers the space and facilities in every season for individuals and families to enjoy outdoor activities in a great relaxed environment. The park's varied terrain offers numerous picnic areas, shady streamside trails, suitable for the nature-lover or the casual walker, as well as certified running courses used by joggers and high school and college athletes. Winter activities include cross-country skiing on approximately 12 miles of trails, ice skating, ice hockey.
The Saratoga Spa State Park offers two beautiful golf courses - a championship 18-hole course and a challenging 9-hole course, complete with a pro shop and a restaurant.
The park is distinguished by its classical architecture combined with the diverse cultural, aesthetic and recreational resources. Listed as a National Historic Landmark, the park is known for its mineral water drinking springs, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), the Spa Little Theater, the National Museum of Dance, the Saratoga Automobile Museum, the Gideon Putnam Resort and Roosevelt Baths and Spa along with the park's multitude of traditional outdoor recreational opportunities. Summer pleasures include the classic Victoria Swimming Pool, the Peerless Pool ideal for families and the Geyser picnic area with expanded children's play areas for 2013.
Hiking & Walking Trails
Polaris Mineral Spring
Peerless Pool Waterslide
Gideon Putnam Hotel
The Friends of
Saratoga Spa State Park
19 Roosevelt Drive
Saratoga Springs NY 12866-8004
Email Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Friends' Directors & Partners
James Kettlewell, President
Stephen Miller, Vice President
Tom Buckley, Secretary
Dan Blanchfield, Treasurer
Richard O. Aichele, Director - Website
Andy Fyfe, Director
Philip Henzel, Director
Janette Kaddo Marino, Director
Aime (Trent) Millet, Director
Don Nichols, Director
Michael Greenslade, Spa State Park Manager
Allison Schweizer, Park Environmental Educator
Saratoga Spa Park in the 1930s
About the Spa Park
CLICK the Links below for past articles.
Become A Friends Member
Download Maps of Saratoga Spa State Park
CLICK The Links of Interest Above
It's the park for people of all ages
with varied interests
The Friends' Plans For Our Spa Park's 2013 Tennis Season
The Registration Form for the 2013 Season Intermediate Doubles Tournaments is available for downloading.
Any questions or inquiries may be directed to Tom Buckley at email: email@example.com
Plans for 2013 are currently underway including the planning of two additional doubles tournaments. The first will be June 8 and 9 followed by September 7 and 8 with men's, women's, and mixed doubles. As in the past, The Friends of Saratoga Spa State Park are targeting the funds raised from the tournaments for more improvements including replacing benches on courts 2 - 4, the purchase several new sweepers and other court maintenance tools. At some point in the near future, we'll need to replace our circa 1950 power roller which is presently held together with bungee cords, cobbled parts and spit.
Another interesting tennis growth endeavor that's underway for 2013 is the partnering of the Spa Park with the United States Tennis Association. The USTA is exploring the possibility of offering a youth development tennis program in the park. If this partnership becomes a reality, the Spa Park would be able to apply for USTA grants to be directed to more tennis court improvements.
Building on the past year, 2012 was the most successful tennis season to date since the renovation of the clay courts. Many compliments have been received about the quality of the courts, beautiful setting, and the friendliness of the regulars. Playing on Hard Tru at no cost is simply "the icing on the cake" and we may be unique throughout the Northeast for public courts. These compliments are a direct tribute to Mike Greenslade (park manager) and the park staff who have been great supporters of the courts ongoing restoration. Equally responsible for the accolades is head tennis volunteer and a director of The Friends Dan Blanchfield. Under Dan's leadership, volunteers in 2012 logged 100+ hours in maintaining and enhancing the courts and adjacent grounds.
Also during 2012, two intermediated doubles tournaments were held in July and September. Approximately $800 was raised. Coupled with other yearly donations, those sums facilitated the purchase of two new nets, one new set of court lines, and necessary sprinkler maintenance. Additional bags of Hard Tru were also purchased and applied throughout the summer.
Lastly, The Friends of Saratoga Spa State Park are open to suggestions and donations that will help maintain and continually improve court play. One recent suggestion was to try wind screens to improve background visibility. If you know about wind screens or have other ideas, please don't hesitate to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Also please regularly check out The Friend's website at www.thefriendsofsaratogaspastatepark.com for Spa Park tennis community updates, events and court work days that will be posted.
Thanks for your continued support - it makes the improvements possible!
Historic Pavilion Restored to Provide Shade for the Tennis Crowd
by Stephen Miller
What started as a planned future project gained momentum thanks to the Park and a local contractor. The Friendsand the Park originally thought a shelter at the tennis courts might be practical and an attractive addition. That concept evolved into the consideration of moving one of the unused "arts and crafts" style pavilions that is thought to have been built in the 1970s from a wooded area near the golf course to the tennis court area. That planning morphed into action with a new concrete pad poured at the tennis courts for the "new"pavilion. Moy Enterprises, Inc. generously donated the equipment, labor and expertise to effect this project. Randy Moy, president, and his team, Bob Moy and Dick Moy, expertly installed the concrete pads at the site and followed-up moving the old pavilion in one piece to the new site. Once the pavilion was sited, The Friends and other interested participants started the renovation work in place in the same manner as the restoration of the Hayes pavilion restoration in 2009.
The Hayes and Orenda pavilions are the only two historic original pavilion structures remaining in the Park.
Ferndell Fountain and Trail Restoration Progresses
by Richard O. Aichele
The on-going program to restore the Ferndell Fountain as part of the Spa Park's Ferndell Trail restoration and improvement proram continues to require significant historical research, environmental planning and engineering. The most recent "boots on the ground" cooperative work by a five member team from The Friends of Saratoga Spa State Park and Spa Park's staff to restore the Ferndell Spring Fountain made significant progress on May 2, 2013. The team for this project was made up of Spa Park employees Mark Holmes, plumber - steamfitter, his assistant Michele Topper, along with Philip Henzel, Stephen Miller and Richard Aichele from The Friends.
The location of the fountain has been long known since several concrete steps of the original 1920s era fountain still exist. However, the actual original fountain vanished over forty years ago. The Ferndell Spring's well-head was preserved several years ago by enclosing it in a cement block enclosure. One challenge to restoring a fountain's operation was that within that Ferndell wellhead enclosure were five pipe connections, plus an approximately 5 inch diameter pipe across the trail at the wellhead was discharging a large quantity of clear water steadily the source of which was unknown. Also, a length of copper tube located further west in the Ferndell Creek along the Ferndell Trail also was steadily discharging a smaller amount of clear water.
Philip Henzel (photo left) fitted a flexible pipe connection and piping designed to measure the hydrostatic pressure of the five inch pipe discharging water. At the same time, the water level within the spring enclosure was monitored. Combined with another test in which Mark Holmes closed off the flow of the five inch pipe to see the affect in the well-head resulted in concluding the well-head and that five inch pipe were not connected and that it was not the water source for the old Ferndell Fountain. That test of water pressure of that pipe's flow was determined but its source was still unknown. That pipe may be a drain from another now unused possible Ferndell Water spring whose actual location is presently unknown. That possibility may be explored further in the future.
Work continued within the well-head itself to systematically eliminate each pipe penetrating into the well-head as having a connection with the underground pipe closest to the fountain's original location. At the end of the day's work session, the team had located the old Ferndell Fountain's actual water source and its remaining supply piping that was underground and partially buried in the creek bed.
The initial Ferndell Trail work began on October 1, 2012 with the removal of 23 overhanging trees to enhance safety of the trail's users and to allow more light to enter those areas of the trail. Michael Greenslade, Saratoga Spa State Park's park manager, said that other work, "was to mainly improve drainage and reduce erosion of the trail surface. Existing culvert pipes were replaced or realigned. In a few spots at the larger pipes we have created “drop culverts” to help slow the flow of the water. The buildup of silt and other plant debris over the years at low-profile retention dams at the trail's upper east end were cleaned out as well."
Stephen Miller, vice president of The Friends, explained that, "Time has not been kind to this non-carbonated, non-mineral spring that was bottled and marketed under the name Saratoga Soft Sweet Spring Water during the early and mid 1900s." Restoration of the Ferndell Fountain was advanced with the May 2nd well-head work and other activity to have a new replacement fountain made. The new fountain specifications match the original 1920s fountain design as much as possible and a vendor is being determined.
Ferndell Creek in 1915 showing walking paths and Ferndell connecting with Geyser Creek.
The Aesthetics of the Greatest Buildings at the Saratoga Spa State Park
by James K. Kettlewell
What is the greatest and most moving work of art that one can experience in the entire surroundings of Saratoga Springs? Quite simply, the marvelous architectural composition at the Spa State Park, which includes the Hall of Springs, the Theater and Administration Building, the two Roosevelt Baths, the sculpture on the buildings, and the grassy mall and reflection pool that lies between. To walk into this composition consciously, and to look around carefully at its beautiful and strongly stated forms, is like walking into a symphony by Beethoven. And there actually is, as you will see if you read on, an important association with musical composition.
We talk all the time about the history of the Saratoga Spa buildings, their architects and their purposes - you can read about it in my book-- but we never quite talk about the buildings themselves. Yet how they appear in their wonderful setting is the most important thing about them. After all, you can house major bathing facilities in a former factory, as was done when the Spa first opened in 1915. The great drama of the present architecture, the temple fronts, the sweeping rhythm of the arcades, the wonder of walking in the arcades with their powerful perspective plunges into depth, these are extraordinary things to experience. Like any art, the more you know about the design sources, the more rich and complex that experience becomes.
The architect Joseph Freedlander, who designed the buildings and the overall plan of the park in the early 1930's, would have been quite aware of these sources. He was a sophisticated graduate of the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, the leading architectural school in the world at this time. Of course there is not enough space here to mention all the design marvels in these buildings, but there is room enough for a consideration some of the basics. The primary source, is Andrea Palladio, the Late Renaissance Italian architect, and his Villa Emo of 1559, near Venice in northern Italy. It is where the overall composition was derived from, of a colonnaded temple front climax flanked by long arcades. The immense influence of Palladio's architecture in America can be instantly recognized in the use of these temple fronts on public buildings and houses, beginning shortly after 1800, and continuing even until the present time. Palladio's influence in this country was do to the many editions of his 1570 publication, The Four Books of Architecture, referred to in almost every builder's handbook of the 17th and 18th centuries.
Palladio is everywhere in these buildings. In the interiors of the arcades, the space before the entrances is demarcated by Palladio's famous motif, the "palladian arch," in which an arched opening is flanked by free-standing columns. More subtly, one of the delicious features of these buildings is the use of Palladio's method of aesthetically calculated proportions, in which the intervals between heights, widths and depths are based on the intervals between the notes of musical chords. Palladio developed this system of proportions working with the great Venetian musical theoretician Giuseppe Zarlino. The whole purpose was to achieve an ideal beauty in the architectural design. Though how this proportionate system can be applied here would take too long to explain, an explanation is not necessary. One can feel it, as one feels it without actually understanding it, the proportions in the smashing climax of Beethoven's Fifth.
Contrasting with the massive facades of the two buildings are four smaller pavilions providing lesser climaxes in each arcade. Around the upper part of each of these pavilions, on a band of cast stone, is a delicate rhythm of stylized waves symbolizing water, refers to the waters of the Saratoga Springs. Above are panels extolling the history of Saratoga in verse, from a poem written in a charmingly naive style by the Reverend Reuben Hyde Sears, pastor of Ballston Center church, and published in Ballston Spa in 1819.
But then there are aspects of the design which are patriotic references to American traditions. The brickwork is quite beautiful in its own right, imitating the brickwork of Colonial Williamsburg. Like most Colonial brickwork it was laid in the characteristic "Flemish Bond" manner, with alternating header and stretcher bricks in each course, but here with the Dutch inflexion of randomly spaced burnt headers. This Dutch connection introduces appropriately an association with New York's early history. King William III of England, who Williamsburg was named after, was, like the brickwork, from Holland. Also referencing Williamsburg are the steep roofs of the main buildings, covered in greenish slate, and the circular windows, the signature of King William's leading architect, Sir Christopher Wren. Wren probably provided the design for William and Mary College, the first building erected at Williamsburg.
The Polaris Spouter Spring
by Aime (Trent) Millet
The Polaris is a delightful spring. Whether there is a child placing his foot on the spout to spray his friends or a group of visitors enjoying the taste of its tangy waters, either straight or mixed, Polaris is a welcoming water. The Polaris Spring always seems delighted to dance in the sunny or gloomy days to greet those who approach it!
Polaris is one of the most popular mineral waters in the lower park. It is natural seltzer type water, known to make wonderful smoothies since they come out very smooth with just the right touch of effervescence. I have met a number of people who have said things like, "I make my kids Kool-Aid out of it," or, "Instead of soft drinks I mix Polaris with grape, strawberry or other juices for my family." I always respond with, "Thank you, and that's great!"
Polaris and similar waters may indeed offer considerably healthier options compared to many of the popular cola beverages. Related areas of interest include the possible affects of liquids including mineral waters and cola soft drinks consumed on maintaining long term healthy pH levels of approximately 7.45 pH considered important to reducing bone density loss.
"Naturally" Carbonated water - which Polaris along with many of Saratoga's water's have been believed by many lay people over the past century to assist in maintaining good health including such areas as blood pressure when used as part of a medically supervised health program.
Polaris as a mineral water is on the lower side of the medium level of mineral waters containing 3260 parts per million (PPM) of total dissolved solids. In comparison, State Seal Water, the clear "plain" water so many people are seen collecting in the lower park near Polaris and across from the auto museum is 175 PPM. Hathorn #3 spring, just inside the Route 50 entrance to park's East - West Road, is 16,407 PPM approximating the strength of sea water.
Polaris Water is low in salts (Sodium), Potassium, Bromide, Magnesium and several minor minerals, not high in Calcium or chloride and does not contain Manganese or Strontium. It is high in Lithium (natural lithium, not to be confused with the manufactured artificial type), iron which explains some of its health qualities and silica which explains the smoothness of smoothies made from it. The combination of the natural iron and silica is believed responsible for its reputation as having skin softening characteristics as with the Lincoln water of Roosevelt Baths. Natural iron is known to be vastly superior to supplements for maintaining the body. The natural CO2 properties are many and its low salt/sodium content may be compatible with low salt diets. Polaris Water is on the lower end of medium in radium and it should be noted in sources reviewed by the author that 90% of the literature by doctors and professionals on natural radium state it has amazing beneficial health properties in non full-time amounts.
Currently, no existing medical or therapeutic records of Polaris Water being prescribed by medical professionals for specific ailments have yet been located. However, it has been accepted by many residents and visitors during the past century that Polaris Water is among the types of mineral waters that may assist in maintaining good health.
Polaris is the first spring visited on my Spa Park mineral springs tours. I always feel like the spouter Polaris is the ancient playmate of my inner child as it dances happily like a giant drinking fountain. Which is also exactly how many people use it.
The Polaris Spring in Winter - ice encrusted but always flowing. (February 2013)
Expanding the Hemlock Trails Reach
by Don Nichols
The Hemlock Trails are probably the least used trails in the entire Spa State Park because they are off by themselves approximately one half mile east on Crescent Avenue. Although actually a contiguous part of the park, this area is separated from the main park areas by South Broadway (Route 9) but has its own parking area. This area of the park is heavily forested in most areas and show signs of having been cleared at some time for farming. The stands of pine, spruce, fir and of course hemlock some of which may be original give the feel of the "forest primeval." Very beautiful. Hardwoods such as grey birch, beech, oak and plenty of maple are also in great abundance. See the Spa Park Trail Map. Because of small streams and some standing water, the trails have many small bridges most of which have been repaired by volunteers and park workers. More work is planned to maintain the trail's bridges in top condition again using both park employees and volunteers. The photo shows one of the new replacement bridge decks. This area's upgrading can develop it into a growing area of park activity as Saratoga Spa Park visitors increasingly discovering this primevial area. The three interconnected trails each of which are quite different offer varied opportunities to exploring this part of the park. The White Trail is along the eastern side, the Blue Trail in the center and the Green Trail in the south area. The south area is where the park's management plans to add several more trails in the future. At least two new trails are planned off the Green Loop that will extend Hemlock well south of the current trail area. The Saratoga Spa Park is the place for people of all ages and all interests to constantly discover or rediscover something new. The Friends' Website is growing to Serve You better. Please Revisit This Website Soon and Often. . . .
Because of small streams and some standing water, the trails have many small bridges most of which have been repaired by volunteers and park workers. More work is planned to maintain the trail's bridges in top condition again using both park employees and volunteers. The photo shows one of the new replacement bridge decks.
This area's upgrading can develop it into a growing area of park activity as Saratoga Spa Park visitors increasingly discovering this primevial area. The three interconnected trails each of which are quite different offer varied opportunities to exploring this part of the park. The White Trail is along the eastern side, the Blue Trail in the center and the Green Trail in the south area. The south area is where the park's management plans to add several more trails in the future. At least two new trails are planned off the Green Loop that will extend Hemlock well south of the current trail area.
The Saratoga Spa Park is the place for people of all ages and all interests to constantly discover or rediscover something new.
The Friends' Website is growing to Serve You better.
Please Revisit This Website Soon and Often.